Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett on Wednesday said he and fellow NFL players who have protested during the National Anthem are spiritually challenging Americans to change the way they see each other, and treat each other.
“I would like to challenge every American that is watching this show to treat people better,” said Bennett, speaking at a CNN town hall moderated by Anderson Cooper. “That really is what it’s about. It’s about treating people like human beings. That’s the first step.”
“The changes start with the heart,” he continued. “This is not a violent protest. This is a peaceful protest. We are challenging people spiritually, not physically, spiritually to change the way you have been doing. Change the culture.”
On Sunday, the Seahawks and Tennessee Titans remained in their locker rooms during the anthem. The Seahawks released a statement saying their players had remained in the locker room because they would “not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country.”
Earlier this week Bennett also criticized President Trump’s handling of the controversy, saying he didn’t understand why he would “stoop so low” as to say that NFL owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who stages a protest during the National Anthem.
On Wednesday, Bennett, suggested protests would continue until real change came about.
“There is no way a woman should feel less human than man,” he said. “There is no way that black person should feel less human than a white man. Everybody should be seen as equal. Until that happens … there is never going to be a change.”